Hillary Clinton didn’t like Julia Sweeney’s impression of daughter Chelsea Clinton on Saturday Night Live — and the comedian understands why.
“People were saying how unattractively I was playing Chelsea and all I did was not wear makeup and put braces on,” Sweeney, 63, said during the Wednesday, August 30, episode of the “Fly on the Wall” podcast. “If you say that, you’re saying I’m unattractive! Which maybe that’s so but … I wasn’t trying to play her unattractive!”
Sweeney explained to hosts — and fellow SNL alums — Dana Carvey and David Spade that Hillary, 75, sent in a “letter” to boss Lorne Michaels about the portrayal of her daughter, now 43, on the sketch comedy show after she was rubbed the wrong way.
“But I understood what Hillary was saying, especially now that I’m a parent,” Sweeney reflected. “It’s like, ‘Yeah f–k off.’ I mean, don’t play kids. That was wrong. She was right, that was wrong.”
Sweeney played then-teenager Chelsea in a January 1993 episode that was hosted by Harvey Keitel, according to Entertainment Weekly. Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks portrayed then-president Bill Clinton and the first lady, respectively. The sketch was titled “Inaugural Gala” per IMDB.
Following the skit, Sweeney did not play Chelsea again. The clip is also not available to watch on SNL‘s official YouTube page.
However, SNL did continue to poke fun at the first daughter including in one of Carvey and Mike Myers’ notable “Wayne’s World” bits. In the segment, Myers and Carvey’s characters suggested that Chelsea wasn’t as attractive as then-vice president Al Gore‘s daughters.
Following its initial airing in 1993, Myers reportedly wrote an apology letter to the Clinton family. Michaels, for his part, issued a statement about the sketch and decided to cut it out when the episode was going to be rerun.
“We felt, upon reflection, that if it was in any way hurtful, it wasn’t worth it,” Michaels said at the time. “She’s a kid, a kid who didn’t choose to be in public life.”
After the discourse, SNL has shied away from poking fun at the young children of political leaders. However, the officials themselves are still fair game. Over the years, the variety show has ribbed at Hillary, Bill, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, current President Joe Biden and more.